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The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality conducted oversight of the living conditions that residents of Phomolong Informal Settlement are forced to endure. No progress has been made by the municipality for years to improve the crisis for the community.
Given that 4 conditional grants amounting to R963 million should have been utilized to upgrade informal settlements such as Phomolong. According to the mid-term MFMA Report, only 20,56% of the total budget was spent at the end of the second quarter. The third quarter is about to end and 75% should have been spent.
In August 2019, residents from the surrounding area temporally invaded the land in Phomolong. With the assistance of the DA, the situation was resolved peacefully as the municipality agreed to allocate plots in Phomolong as soon as they become available. During 2021/2022 tensions again flared as there was no movement from the municipality to solve the crisis.
The municipality had to return R500 million due to grants not being spent, an indictment against management. R125.9 million was received as a rollover grant. In terms of grants and the money lost due to underspending within the current Adjustment Budget – The local Government Equitable share has decreased by R 6.7 million, Urban Settlement Development Grant by R 5.4 million and Programme and Projects by R 3 million.
Conditional grants such as the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG); the Informal Settlement Upgrading Grant (ISUG); the Public Transport Infrastructure & Systems Grant (PTISG) and the Urban Settlement Development Grant, are all conditional financial allocations intended to address the land, bulk and connector infrastructure, and basic service needs of an increasingly urbanised population.
This laissez-faire attitude of the ANC-led municipality to address the human rights of citizens to have access to adequate infrastructure and basic services because of corruption, fraudulent housing allocations and the mismanagement of public funds cannot be tolerated anymore.
While provinces are responsible for housing, municipalities are responsible for creating a public environment conducive to housing development, including the provision of bulk and internal engineering services. The Housing Act also sets out a process whereby municipalities can be accredited to administer any national housing programme. The roles and responsibilities of the three spheres of government provided for in the Act are further detailed in the National Housing Code.
The DA will continue to hold the municipality accountable and increase pressure for full grant expenditure. In this way, informal settlements such as Phomolong will be integrated into the greater Mangaung and no longer be an isolated settlements forgotten by the ANC until the next election.
Issued by David Mc Kay - DA Councillor and Section 80: Human Settlements representative Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
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